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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M professors respond to Fauci testimony

Anthony+Fauci
via globalhealth.georgetown.edu
Anthony Fauci

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci testified before the U.S. Senate on June 30 to provide updates on COVID-19.
Fauci said he was “very concerned” with the rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and predicted that the nation will see 100,000 new cases every day if the current trends continue. Some Texas A&M professors in the medical field agree with Fauci’s concern and prediction.
Assistant professor and epidemiologist at the A&M School of Public Health Melissa DuPont-Reyes expressed support for Fauci’s leadership.
“I have complete confidence in Dr. Fauci,” DuPont-Reyes said. “He is our nation’s leading expert in infectious diseases and I turn to Dr. Fauci for guidance and recommendations, and that is what we should all be doing.”
Fauci predicted that the coronavirus season would overlap with flu season this fall. Director of the Center for Population Health and Aging and chair of the Opioid Task Force at the A&M Health Science Center Marcia Ory said she is concerned that the overlap will heavily affect the health industry.
“It will put an increased burden on the healthcare system,” Ory said. “That’s what the worry is. People know that they’re going to co-occur, but the implications are increased demand in a healthcare setting, which is already being strained.”
Individuals can help control whether or not Fauci’s predictions come to fruition, Ory said.
“Whether we hit 100,000 [new cases] a day really depends on what people do. It’s whether or not they adhere to wearing masks, if they stay out of crowds, if they practice physical distancing and if they practice hand washing,” Ory said. “[The prediction] doesn’t have to happen. So the difference between what could and what will is really a matter of public health practices of what individuals can do. It’s also having more testing.”
Angela Clendinin, assistant professor at the A&M School for Public Health, said this year it’s more important than ever to receive a flu shot.
“The important thing to realize is that with influenza, we do have a vaccine, and if you were to get the flu and COVID, that’s two really challenging respiratory illnesses that are challenging your immune system at the same time,” Clendenin said. “So having COVID and getting flu on top of it, or vice versa, you’re at risk for probably significantly more severe outcomes than if you never got one of them.”
According to Clendenin, any resident of the Bryan-College Station area who is diagnosed with the coronavirus will receive a call from the Brazos County Health District or from the A&M COVID-19 Center. She said students infected with coronavirus should pay attention to their phones and keep following safety precautions. The Brazos County Health District said the contact tracer’s phone number may show up as unknown, but it is important to answer so they can get information from the positive cases.
“We have important questions we need to ask them and we have important resources we need to be able to provide them,” Clendenin said. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, every single one of us has a role to play in how well we respond to COVID-19 in our community or how badly we fail and so everybody has to be willing to do their part if we’re going to be successful.”

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